Commitment + Clinical Leadership = Better Outcomes
5 Health Benefits of Apples
Apples are one of the most popular fruits, with 10.5 billion pounds being harvested in 2021. Apples are the most consumed fruit in the United States, with Americans eating an average of 26.3 pounds of apples each.1
Apples are a well-liked fruit because they can be added into many different recipes, from salads to desserts. Apples are a great ingredient that can add flavor and texture to a dish. In fact, 63% of Americans in a 2020 survey said that they consumed apples in the last year, making it the second most eaten fruit.2
You’ve probably heard the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” and it’s true: apples are very healthy and contain many essential vitamins and nutrients your body needs. Here are 5 health benefits you can get from incorporating more apples into your diet.
Apples Can Reduce Cholesterol Levels
One health benefit of apples is they can help your body reduce its LDL cholesterol, which are the “bad” cholesterol levels in your body. High cholesterol levels can put you at risk for heart attacks and strokes because as cholesterol builds up on the walls of the arteries, it restricts blood flow over time.3
A study looked at 160 women and found that eating apples can lower the body’s LDL cholesterol by 23% after a year. The researchers also found that the levels of lipid hydroperoxide, which are known to be heart-clogging plaques, was down by about a third.4
One reason why apples help fight bad cholesterol is they contain pectin, a type of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber can bind to cholesterol and reduce the absorption of it into your blood stream. The soluble fiber in apples has been found to help reduce blood cholesterol levels by as much as 11%.5
Eating apples are one way that you can naturally reduce your cholesterol levels, which can aid your heart health for years to come.
Apples Lower Diabetes Risk
There are many studies that have found that apples are linked to a lower level of type 2 diabetes. One study looked at the differences between apples and other fruits such as strawberries and cantaloupes to see which ones were best for reducing the risk of diabetes. The researchers concluded that whole fruits, including apples, were associated with a lower risk.6
One reason why apples may lower the risk of diabetes is its fiber can help slow the body’s absorption of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates can spike your body’s blood sugar levels if they are absorbed too quickly. It is estimated that apples contain 4.8 grams of fiber inside every 27 carbohydrates.7
A population-based Australian study found that people who ate two servings of fruits a day were 36% less likely to develop diabetes in their lifetime. They found that fruit intake was associated with lower blood sugar because those who ate fruits had higher insulin sensitivity. The study also discovered that apples were more successful at helping maintain blood sugar levels than bananas or citrus fruits.8
If you are at risk for developing diabetes, eating apples along with a healthy diet can be one way to help keep blood sugars at a healthy level.
Apples Might Help Prevent Cancer
Even though there is no single way to protect yourself from cancer, studies have linked apples to lowering the risk.
Apples are high in antioxidants that can protect the body from oxidative stress, which can help prevent chronic disease and aging. One study examined the risk of lung cancer and flavonoids. The flavonoids in apples were found to be inversely related to lung cancer risk, especially in younger people and nonsmokers.9
Another study found that apples can help reduce the risk of mortality with cancer. In women over 70 years of age, the researchers found that the women who ate apples were less likely to die of cancer. They found apples to be more effective at reducing the risk of cancer than other fruits such as bananas.10
Eating apples might be one way to help reduce your risk of cancer. If you are at risk for cancer or want to find ways to be healthier to protect yourself from it, try eating foods like apples.
Apples Can Prevent Diseases
The soluble fiber found in apples can help speed up the healing process from bacterial infections. Soluble fiber can change pro-inflammatory cells to be anti-inflammatory because it boosts the body’s production of interleukin-4, a protein that helps the T-cells fight infections.11
Another reason why apples support the immune system is they contain vitamin C. It is estimated that one apple contains 10% of your daily vitamin C needs, which is important because your body can’t produce it on its own.12
Vitamin C supports the immune system because it is an antioxidant that can help fight free radicals that cause aging and disease. It also supports your body’s white blood cells and can help make bacterial membranes more absorbent to some antibiotics.13
Adding more apples can support your immune system and help the cells fight off infection. This allows you to prevent or recover faster from illnesses, which can be especially critical during the winter months.
Apples Promote Healthy Bones
Apples can keep your bones strong and healthy because they contain phloridzin, a flavonoid antioxidant found in the peels. Phloridzin is only found in apples, and it is linked to improving bone density as well as reducing bone breakdown in women after menopause.14
Additionally, apples contain boron, a trace mineral that has been linked to bone formation, calcium, estrogen, and Vitamin E. Boron has also been found to protect the body from arthritis, which is when the joints of the bone become stiff and worn down. One medium apple has been found to have .66 milligrams of boron.15
One study looked at the link between eating different forms of apples to see how it affected bone density. Those who ate fresh apples lost less calcium than those in the control group.16
Protecting your bones with foods such as apples can prevent fractures and conditions such as osteoporosis developing as you age. Add more apples into your diet to help keep your bones strong.
Vitamins & Minerals In Apples
There are many vitamins and minerals that make apples a healthy option. Here are two of the main ones, according to Healthline Media:17
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C is an antioxidant found in many fruits, including apples. Vitamin C can help keep your skin healthy because it aids in the production of collagen. Vitamin C has also been linked to protecting against iron deficiency and lowering blood pressure.18
- Potassium: Potassium is an electrolyte that assists in heart health because it can help lower blood pressure. Potassium can also help your body regulate fluid balance because it is a key component in intracellular fluid, a substance that makes up 40% of the body’s water.19
Ways to Eat More Apples
There are many recipes and dishes that you can make at home to incorporate more apples into your meals.
Here are some ideas to help you start adding more apples into your diet:
- Enjoy a whole apple as a snack
- Add apples into your oatmeal
- Eat apple slices with peanut butter as a snack
- Make a smoothie and use apples as one of your ingredients
- Make a homemade apple pie using fresh apples
- Bake your apples and add cinnamon or raisins
- Add apples into your yogurt
- Pack apple slices in your lunch
- Make a salad and add apple slices as one of the fruits
- Make homemade apple sauce
- Squeeze homemade apple juice
- Bake apple tarts
- Eat apple pancakes for breakfast
- Create your own homemade apple butter
- Make candy apples
Eat More Apples Today!
Apples are a nutritious fruit that are a tasty way to add more vitamins and nutrients into your everyday routine. Try adding more apples into your diet to start eating healthier today!
Here at Saber Healthcare, our dietary team strives to make meals for our residents that not only taste great but meet all of their nutritional needs. To learn more about Saber Healthcare and the care that we have to offer, click here.
Saber Healthcare is an organization dedicated to providing consultant services to long term care providers. This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to be seen as professional advice. Please consult with a medical expert before relying on the information provided.
- “Apples.” Iowa State University, Ag Marketing Resource Center. 21 September 2021. Accessed 20 October 2021. Link: https://www.agmrc.org/commodities-products/fruits/apples
- “Most consumed fruits in the United States in 2020.” Statista. March 2021. Accessed 20 October 2021. Link: https://www.statista.com/statistics/477475/us-most-consumed-fruit-and-fruit-products-by-type/
- “Cholesterol Education Month: Learn About Cholesterol.” Saber Healthcare Group. 1 September 2021. Accessed 20 October 2021. Link: https://www.saberhealth.com/news/blog/maintain-healthy-cholesterol-levels
- Goodman, Brenda. Martin, Laura J, ed. “Apples are good for your heart.” WebMD. 12 April 2011. Accessed 20 October 2021. Link: https://www.webmd.com/heart/news/20110412/apple-good-for-your-heart
- Campbell, Meg. “How Much Fiber Is There in a Small Apple?” Hearst, SFGate. 27 November 2018. Accessed 20 October 2021. Link: https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/much-fiber-there-small-apple-5519.html
- Muraki, Isao et al. “Fruit consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: results from three prospective longitudinal cohort studies.” BMJ (Clinical research ed.) 347 f5001. 28 Aug. 2013, doi:10.1136/bmj.f5001 Link: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23990623/
- Bell, Becky. Kubala, Jillian. “Do Apples Affect Diabetes and Blood Sugar Levels?” Red Ventures, Healthline Media. Last Updated 5 February 2021. Accessed 20 October 2021. Link: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/apples-and-diabetes#nutrition
- Busko, Marlene. “Eat Two Fruits a Day, Ward Off Diabetes?” WebMD. Accessed 20 October 2021. Link: https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/news/20210611/eat-two-fruits-day-ward-off-diabetes
- Boyer, Jeanelle, and Rui Hai Liu. “Apple phytochemicals and their health benefits.” Nutrition journal 3 5. 12 May. 2004, doi:10.1186/1475-2891-3-5. Link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC442131/
- Hodgson, Jonathan M et al. “Apple intake is inversely associated with all-cause and disease-specific mortality in elderly women.” The British journal of nutrition vol. 115,5 (2016): 860-7. doi:10.1017/S0007114515005231 Link: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26787402/
- Lifer, Holly. “Diet & Nutrition.” AARP. October 2010. Accessed 20 October 2021. Link: https://www.aarp.org/food/diet-nutrition/info-08-2010/feel-better-fast.html
- Hetzler, Lynn. “The Vitamin C in Apples.” Livestrong. Accessed 20 October 2021. Link: https://www.livestrong.com/article/450127-the-vitamin-c-in-apples/
- “How Does Vitamin C Boost Your Immunity and Improve Your Health?” 828 Urgent Care. Accessed 20 October 2021. Link: https://www.828urgentcare.com/blog/how-does-vitamin-c-boost-your-immunity-and-improve-your-health
- Brown, Susan E. “Apple Benefits – Good Bone Health to the Core.” Center for Better Bones. 15 October 2012. Accessed 20 October 2021. Link: https://www.betterbones.com/bone-nutrition/apples-and-bone-health/
- Poulson, Brittany. Chandrasekaran, Anita C. “Healthy Foods That Are High in Boron.” Dotdash, VeryWellHealth. 11 February 2011. Accessed 20 October 2021. Link: https://www.verywellhealth.com/best-boron-rich-foods-5092054
- Hyson, Dianne A. “A comprehensive review of apples and apple components and their relationship to human health.” Advances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md.) vol. 2,5 (2011): 408-20. doi:10.3945/an.111.000513. Link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3183591/
- Arnarson, Atli. “Apples 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits.” Red Ventures, Healthline Media. 8 May 2019. Accessed 20 October 2021. Link: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-health-benefits-of-apples
- “5 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Vitamin C.” Saber Healthcare Group. Accessed 20 October 2021. Link: https://www.saberhealth.com/news/blog/5-vitamin-c-benefits
- Raman, Ryan. “What Does Potassium Do for Your Body? A Detailed Review.” Red Ventures, Healthline Media. 9 September 2017. Accessed 20 October 2021. Link: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-does-potassium-do